Football was back with a bang at the weekend, as supporters all across Roscommon were treated to some incredible games. Michael Glaveys’ win over Boyle and Strokestown’s sensational comeback against Western Gaels would suggest that these two clubs can be added to the shortlist of potential Fahey Cup winners, while Oran continue to look like the real deal.
Never mind all this “team game” stuff however, it’s time to find out who were the 15 players who put their hand up to say “look at me!”.
Yes, it’s back, it’s the Roscommon Herald Team of the Week!
Goalkeeper: Regan Fahey (Tulsk)
Last week this slot was filled with a goalkeeper who didn’t keep a clean sheet, and even though Fahey was undone by Gearóid Cunniffe’s subtle little finish after coming on in Kiltoom, he made some outstanding saves in the first half to keep his team in it, including denying Brian Stack from a penalty.
Many of his restarts went short but overall he was accurate on his kickouts too, while offering a strong physical presence.
Right Corner-Back: Fearghal Lennon (Clann na nGael)
Deceptively fast, deceptively strong, an excellent reader of the game, Lennon is an elite defender who goes about his business quietly but rarely puts a foot wrong. Clann’s back six held Pearses in a vice-like grip last Friday night, and Lennon was central to that.
Full-Back: Peter Domican (St. Brigid’s)
Ben O’Carroll’s return to the St. Brigid’s starting team was crucial to their win, but it shouldn’t mask the significance of Peter Domican slotting back into the full back line of the county champions. The veteran full back took on a capable forward in David Carleton and completely shut him down, conceding one score from play that should have been marked as a wide.
Thomas Fetherston and Shane O’Malley performed to a very high level and were right in the mix, but just not quite at the same level as the former Roscommon county player.
Left Corner-Back: Tim Lambe (Roscommon Gaels)
The young defender’s goal was of course the crucial score in a 1-9 to 0-10 win for the Gaels against Elphin, but it was the cherry on top of a hard-working, tenacious defensive performance, as opposed to the central attraction. The challenge in front of him gets much tougher next week however, as he’s likely to be allocated the task of marking Cathal Heneghan in Lisnamult on Sunday.
Right Half-Back: Paddy Gavin (Clann na nGael)
We almost included the Roscommon U-20 wing back in our week one team, even though he only came on as a substitute against Strokestown. He got his start against Pearses and was full value for it, bringing all his usual energy and trickery to the table.
Arguably his closest rival for this slot was his club colleague, Damien Duff, who was also in excellent form in Johnstown last Friday.
Centre-Back: Colin Walsh (Oran)
From a club point of view, Oran had things all their own way on Sunday against St. Croan’s. However Walsh had to be both physical and fast to get the better of Mike Holland in his personal battle, and he did exactly that. In the county colours, he looks like one of the best full backs Roscommon has seen for years, but for his club he is dominating further out the field.
Left Half-Back: Paul McGrath (St. Brigid’s)
Tulsk’s decision to withdraw two of their forwards back into more defensive roles meant that McGrath was operating in space a lot of the time, but when he needed to get in and make tackles, or when he needed to add himself to an attacking move, he made the right decisions and executed well. Like several other young players in the club, a lack of size seems to be the only weak point in his game.
Midfield: Kevin Higgins (Western Gaels)
Saturday was a tough day for the Frenchpark club as they became the first team to be knocked out of the race for the 2021 senior championship, but their veteran midfielder can be completely exempted from responsibility for their downfall after a warrior’s performance that featured four points and several trademark catches.
Midfield: Mark Healy (Roscommon Gaels)
Unlike Higgins, Healy’s performance was less about power and scoring, but more about controlling the game through sheer relentless energy, and using his experience to pick holes in a strong Elphin defence. Roscommon Gaels don’t have the firepower of some of the other teams in the senior championship, but Healy did all he could to make life as easy as possible for his forwards.
Right Half-Forward: Ciarán Lawless (Oran)
Just one player from our first senior team of the week retains his slot, and that’s Ciarán Lawless – albeit he was a midfield selection a fortnight ago. Despite scoring 5-13, most of the Oran forward line failed to really catch fire on Sunday. Lawless made up for it with 2-4 from play, as well as playing a key part in two of the other goals. Other Oran players started this championship ahead of Lawless in the public eye as potential county stars in 2022, but the former Roscommon CBS player is shooting up the pecking order fast.
Centre-Forward: Cian McKeon (Boyle)
McKeon is another player who didn’t get the result he would have wanted at the weekend, but couldn’t have done much more in the team’s cause. Eight points in total and a controlled, assured display as the centre-forward playmaker means he was a straightforward choice for this position.
Left Half-Forward: David McManus (Clann na nGael)
McManus was one of several Clann forwards that struggled to make any impression on their first game in this year’s championship, but he made up for it in spades last Friday with a tour de force from wing forward that featured three outstanding scores from distance and any number of game-breaking runs.
Right Corner-Forward: Ben O’Carroll (St. Brigid’s)
O’Carroll was at his mesmerising best on Saturday evening, leading the Tulsk defence on a merry dance with his incredible footwork, accuracy and coolness under pressure. He kicked seven points in total, six from play, including some absolute mesmerising efforts off his wand of a left foot.
Full-Forward: Cathal Compton (Strokestown)
Given the quality of their win, including just one Strokestown player in this week’s team seems a little harsh, and Ciarán Regan, Paddy Brogan and Diarmuid McGann can all consider themselves unlucky to miss out. Cathal Compton’s performance meant he was one of the first names on the list however, as he dominated the full forward position as a target man, serving as the focal point around which an excellent attack was built.
Left Corner-Forward: Cathal Heneghan (Michael Glaveys)
The Michael Glaveys man has clearly put his injury troubles well and truly behind him, as he put in one of the best performances of his career to help his club post a famous one-point victory. Any player with Heneghan’s eye for goal, not to mention his incredible ability to deliver one, is a huge asset to a championship-chasing team, and Michael Glaveys are definitely in that bracket now.
*Compiled by Kevin Egan